There are lots of work in literature based on character of Ulysses, a legend character from Greek epic ‘Iliad’ but the most endearing is one I find in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘Ulysses’. The poem, genre of literature I do not find to much of my interest but still this poem en lights inspiration as well encouragement in me. The poem begins with speakers declaration of boredom in his tedious life of The King, in which he finds himself confined. ‘little profits………………. By this still hearth, among these barren crags,’
He is bound by the duties of the King to rule the people by feeding poor and punishing criminals but these worldly duties does not amuse Ulysses as he lingers upon his adventures life style he experienced in his travel during the war. (the Trojan war) . His quest to travel has been craftily composed by Tennyson in following lines,
‘I cannot rest from travel: I will drink Life to the lees:
He further states how he had encountered different places, different cultures, different people in this travel. And as a soldier he achieved fame, therefore was treated very respectively for being a warrior and he enjoyed it all.According to him to breath is not life but always to search for something new.Once again the luring quest summed up beautifully by the poet in following lines,
‘And this gray spirit yearning in desire, To follow knowledge like a sinking star, Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
At this stage he feels convenient to leave as his son Telemachus , is well capable of performing his duty as the King. Ulysses trusts Telemachus will rule very efficiently. The last section of the poem attracts readers more as he expresses his quest to travel somewhere beyond their imagination , he sees his vessel is ready to leave for the voyage with his old mariners (referring to his companions in war). They have witnessed hostile as well as optimistic situations, ‘the thunder and the sunshine’ together.Now even though he and his companions have become old he believes they have old age’s ‘honor and toil’. Death is nearby ‘will closes all’ but he still thinks there is much more left to explore.Following lines by Tennyson excel Ulysses’s never dying spirit,where beautiful imagery of moon urges him,
‘come, my friends, ‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.’
Ulysses wants to sail beyond the sunset, there might be possibility that they will be washed down (unsuccessful) but still he wants to travel ‘until he dies’. The brighter possibility is that they might reach to ‘happy isle’ where they would be able to see the great Achilles.
Eventually like the great motivational and inspirational leader Ulysses is, he motivates his crew or friends by saying even though they are now old and weak their will is strong to try , to find, to seek but they will not ever give up. The last lines are highlight of the poem.
‘One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by the time and fate,but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
The poem gives us motivation never to say its late or never give up we must strive hard to achieve goals and experiencing new things in life.